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by Amanda Molinaro from Irvine

For young children in Pakistan, art and books are a luxury they cannot afford. A handful of privileged children are able to attend private schools, where art is one of their subjects and they have access to functional libraries. However, reading books and art activities are non-existent in schools for children of lower income classes. They have nearly no access to art and attending libraries is a rarity. When Fauzia Minallah, an artist and children’s writer, realized the limited access that children of the lower income group have to reading books and art, she decided to do something about it.

In 2002, she started the Funkor Child Art Center in Islamabad. She reached out to children in shanty towns, relief and refugee camps and centers for special children and encouraged them to read or participate in art projects. She began to host workshops and events so that children could experience the joy of book reading and painting. Fauzia Minallah uses the arts and reading books to encourage children to think critically about the world around them. Using art as a medium, she helps promote awareness of human rights, tolerance, equality, peace and the environment.

Funkor Child Art Center has many different projects for underprivileged children, including:

  • Amai Park, a playground for visually impaired children. Because touch is very important for these children, the playground was designed with different textures, including Braille tiles and various large trees with different types of leaves. Children sit in the cool shade beneath the trees and learn to respect nature. Children sit and paint flowers in bright colors, and those that are blind paint with the aid of stencils.
  • Children for Environmental Protection is a program to help promote awareness about the environment. Children paint murals about the importance of trees and in one activity planted young saplings. They learn the importance of recycling by using old newspapers to make paper, which they use as painting paper and to make cards. The children learn how they can reuse items by making crafts out of discarded bags, juice packets and other trash.

  • The Artmile Connection is a program that works with the Art Miles Mural Project to teach children about multi-cultural harmony. From 2003 to the present, children have been painting “murals of peace” to promote harmony among people of different religions, sects, races and cultures. The mural starts in Pakistan, where the children paint the children of France, Italy, Africa and Vietnam on a 6x4 canvas. The canvas is then sent to another country, where the children complete the mural by painting the children of Pakistan. Their most recent mural began in Pakistan, where the children painted the children of Austria. The mural was finished in Austria, where the children painted in Pakistani children holding hands with the Austrian children.

Fauzia Minallah and the Funkor Child Art Center are dedicated to providing underprivileged children access to reading books and arts and crafts. By promoting reading and participation in art workshops, Fauzia Minallah is helping children understand peace and embrace multi-cultural harmony. You can help spread the message of the Funkor Child Art Center by supporting art activities in local under-privileged schools, hospitals, and shanty towns, or sponsoring special arts and crafts activities for special children.

Written by Amanda Molinaro from Irvine
Last changed on: 2/13/2011

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